As a Real Estate Broker working in the Pasadena, California market place, I have been monitoring homes as they come up on the market. This, of course, helps me understand and to always be on top of the current inventory.
As new listings come up in and around Pasadena, I have programmed my computers to send me an automated email with information on the property immediately upon the home hitting the Multiple Listing Service.
Over the last year or so, I have seen some, well... the only way I can describe it is "doozies" coming through my email. I am constantly amazed that we have Real Estate Agents that literally throw the property on the market with no forethought or plan.
So¦ I decided to write a series of posts for sellers to give some guidance as to what they should expect from their Real Estate Agent and how they can check to see that their Agent is doing their job.
After all, no one cares about your home like you do. In most cases, its your biggest investment. So¦ please do not take marketing lightly and ensure make sure that you get what you pay for!
Your Number 1 Goal in marketing your home is quite simply to get as many EYEBALLS as you can to see it! Simple, isnt it?
The more people I can bring in to see your home, the more likely your house will sell faster and at the highest price! The first TWO WEEKS of the listing period (being officially on the market, in the MLS) will either make you or break you!
Sellers make sure that your Real Estate Agent doesnt just come in, sign the listing agreement and your home is in the Multiple Listing Service the next day! OUCH¦ no preparation and no thought given to exposure.
At the very minimum, I would suggest that your marketing plan and preparation include the following:
- First, before marketing your home, make sure its been staged. Make sure that your Realtor is working with a Staging Professional and brings one in for a consultation to talk to you about maximizing your homes appeal and get it ready ready for sale. If your home doesnt show well, no amount of marketing/exposure will help. The price will be the ONLY deciding factor. Please refer to the following post for more information on staging - What Is Staging? Also, heres a good example of before and after pictures on a vacant property at www.WhatIsStaging.Info.
- Once your house is ready to show, make sure that your Real Estate Agent takes LOTS of pictures of your home - inside and out! Not just one picture - TONS of pictures! Your home at a minimum should have 10 to 12 pictures in the MLS. Remember, that based on the NARs (National Association of Realtors) 2005 profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 77% of consumers start their search on the internet. Price and location gets their attention, but the pictures entice them to actually set up an appointment and visit the home. There are too many listings in the MLS that have NO pictures what so ever, or just ONE picture. In todays age of digital cameras, that is just not acceptable. Sellers, you can easily check the MLS to see how many pictures your home has and the quality of these pictures. Would you want to visit your own home after seeing the way it looks on-line? Pictures are worth than a thousand words, right?
- Make sure that there is a Real Estate Show (Flash Presentation) or a Virtual Tourassociated with your home on the MLS. 82% of all time spent searching for a home is being spent on Realtor.com. If you go to Realtor.com, youll see that one of the search options allows you to search for homes with only Virtual Tours. Why is that? In my experience, we are all trying to save as much time as possible. By looking at pictures and virtual tours on-line, consumers are quick to identify the homes they want. I even had several of my buyers say to me that if they cant see the home on line, they think that theres something wrong with it - otherwise there would be pictures. Also it will give your potential buyers a much better feel for the house.
- Your Pasadena Real Estate Agent should market your home to your neighbors. Its been proven time and time again that your neighbors will know someone who wants to live in their area. If your neighbors know about your house and are invited to participate in helping them select their next neighbor, your homes chances of selling faster and for more money increase. I recommend sending out at least 200 to 400 Just Listed Cards to the neighborhood. Also, your Realtor should hold a special Neighborhood only Open House - I like holding Twilight Open Houses and inviting neighbors to see the home before anyone else sees it.
- Your Real Estate Agent should market your home to the Real Estate community. Chances are that another agent will represent a successful buyer for your home. Does your agent have a database with names and email addresses of top agents in the area? Do they have established relationships with these agents? How do they market their listings to the real estate community. What format does the marketing take? Your agent should utilize both email and the ˜old fashioned distribution of flyers to their fellow agents to encourage them to come preview your home. Also, its critical to have your home advertised on a Broker Tour.
- Will your agent create a website specifically for your home? Will it have its own domain name that can be advertised on the sign riders and in other marketing materials. For example, visit http://www.pasadenaviews.com/free-home-search/pasadena-home-for-sale-california-english-cottage-caltech-adjacent-2926-s-craig/
- What kind of brochures will your agent order? Are they professional? In color? Printed on nice paper? I sort of like to think of it as writing a resume for a job interview¦ the brochure represents your home and will be picked up by other real estate professionals, neighbors and potential buyers. You want it to stand out!
- Is there an 800 number with a specific message about your home? A lot of home buyers do NOT want to speak with a Real Estate Agent at the begining. They are just not comfortable. But, if they see an 800 number with information about your home that they can call 24/7, theyll do that. Whats more interesting is that as an agent, I automatically get notified of any phone calls that come in on any of my assigned 800 number listings. I can always follow up with the prospective buyer.
- Public Open Houses - I am not a huge proponent of Open Houses, but the first weekend that the house is on the market, is very critical. Holding the home open both Saturday and Sunday makes it easier for potential buyers to stop on by and see your home first hand.
As you can see, there's so much to be done - taking pictures, creating website, publishing flyers, updating Realtor.com and other websites, creating 800 # messages, etc. It can not be done in one day.
There are so many steps along with the ones that I have listed here that need to be done before your home hits the MLS. Its not as easy as just putting a sign in front of your home and saying that its now on the market for sale.
Sellers please be aware of what your agent is doing for you! Don't be afraid to ask questions. Selling a home is a partnership, both agent and seller working in concert for a common goal.
Please ensure that your home is represented professionally! Ensure that your agent communicates with you every step of the way. Ultimately, your bottom line is impacted.
GOOD LUCK with the sale of your home!